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Northwoods League: Willmar Stingers edge Express in extra innings

JT Navyac tallies four RBIs in 7-6 Willmar win at Eau Claire.

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — After two days off, the Willmar Stingers got some extra baseball in their return Monday night.

After losing a 4-1 lead to the Eau Claire Express, Willmar was able to prevail in 11 innings for a 7-6 victory in front of a crowd of 1,214 at Carson Park.

The Stingers put up three runs in the top of the second inning thanks to a Drey Dirksen RBI single, a JT Navyac bases-loaded walk and a Brett Bateman sacrifice fly.

Eau Claire was able to chip away at the Stingers’ lead, eventually tying the game in the bottom of the eighth. Max Coupe brought in a run on a sac fly. Benjamin Rosengard tied it at 4-4 with a one-run single, helping to bring the game to extra innings.

With a runner on second base to start the top of the 11th, Willmar got a leadoff walk from Kyle Payne, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Will Safford to put runners in scoring position. Navyac worked a 2-0 count into a single to center field that scored Josh Fitzgerald and Payne. Then with two outs, Joey Walls belted a double to center that brought Navyac home.

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Navyac, a sophomore from Cal State-Fullerton, was 3-for-3 with four RBIs and a run scored from the number nine spot in the batting order. Payne, a sophomore from Northwest Nazarene University (Idaho), scored three times, finishing 1-for-2.

Willmar High School grad and North Dakota State freshman Andrew Baumgart started the game for the Stingers. Tossing the first five innings, Baumgart struck out eight, allowing one run on five hits and two walks in the no-decision.

Dylan Matela got out of a jam in the 11th to get the win. Now 2-1 on the season, the Georgia State sophomore struck out nine over 3-2/3 innings to collect the win. Matela has a 1.20 ERA over 15 innings this summer.

Eau Claire leads the Northwoods League Great Plains East Division with a 16-11 record. Willmar is 16-11 in the Great Plains West Division and is in second place behind St. Cloud.

The teams play again at 6:35 p.m. at Carson Park, then play at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday in Willmar.

Willmar 7, Eau Claire 6

Willmar          030   100   000   03-7   9   4
Eau Claire     000   101   020   02-6   11   0
Hitting - Willmar: Brett Bateman 1-4 rbi bb sf, Joey Walls 1-5 r 2b rbi hbp, Drey Dirksen 0-4 r bb, Jakob Christian 1-5 r, Josh Fitzgerald 0-0 r, Kyle Payne 1-2 r-3 bb-2 hbp, Will Safford 2-3 rbi bb sh sb, JT Navyac 3-3 r rbi-4 bb-2 … Eau Claire: Benjamin Rosengard 1-5 rbi bb, Cole Conn 1-6 sb, Trevor Haskins 0-4 r, Jake Sapien 2-6 r 2b rbi-2, Reed Latimer 4-5 r-2 rbi hbp, Sam Kuchinski 2-5 r, Charlie Saum 0-4 bb, Max Coupe 0-2 rbi-2 sf-2, Cadyn Schwabe 1-5 r sb
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Willmar: Andrew Baumgart 5-5-1-1-2-8, Steven Brooks 1-0-1-0-0-0, Jack Zigan 1.1-3-2-2-1-1, Dylan Matela (W, 2-1) 3.2-3-2-1-1-9 … Eau Claire: Jared Lessman 4-6-4-4-2-1, Ethan Louthan 2-0-0-0-2-1, Hunter Rosenbaum 2-0-0-0-1-2, Charlie Szykowny 1-1-0-0-1-0, Matt Helwig 1-0-0-0-0-2, Trevyn Badger (L, 2-1) 1-2-3-2-1-2 

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